By E Kay
Delhi was reeling in heat with temperatures reaching 40 plus degree Celsius. So what do we do. We pack a few bags and head off to the hills. This time it was a tiny town about 560 kms from Delhi to Dalhousie. Dalhousie is a home to colonial-era buildings, including St. Francis and St. John’s churches, which date back to the rule of the British Raj in the 1800s.
There are numerous buses, cars and trains to reach Dalhousie. Trains reach up to Pathankot and from there you can take a car or a bus. The nearest airport is also situated at Pathankot.
We travelled by a night bus. The bus ride itself wasn't a very pleasant one but the anticipation and the eagerness to get out of the scorching heat was all that mattered.
It usually takes about 10 hours to reach Dalhousie. Our bus was quite slow and so we reached at around 11am.
Once we reached, we realised the town was rather small and we could walk from one point to another, at least the main market areas and the bus stop. So we took a short hike up to our hotel which was about a kilometre and a half from the main bus stop. We walked by Garam Sadak which is a pleasant road flanked by numerous trees on both sides. On the way to our hotel, we also passed by Subhash Chowk which is a viewpoint overlooking the beautiful mountains and valley. There is a statue of the great freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose situated there, and hence the name. A beautiful church dedicated to Saint Patrick is also situated a few metres away from the Chowk. Another church dedicated to Saint John is situated about 2kms away at Gandhi Chowk.
Like stated earlier, Dalhousie is a small town, and can be explored on foot. However to get to the popular tourist spots like Khajjiar, Kalatop, etc, you will need to book a cab and they will charge anywhere between 3000 to 3500 for trips that can be customised as per your requirement.
We visited Khajjiar, Dainkund Peak, Panch Pulla and a few other places.
Khajjiar is a picturesque meadow situated about 15 kms from Dalhousie. It's extremely crowded but a good place to visit.
So, to get to Dainkund peak, you need to trek an uphill distance of about 1.6 kms. It's a very easy climb and will take you about 45 mins to reach the top. The view of the mountains and valleys throughout the trek is breathtaking. You can see the Pir Panjal mountain range as well whilst climbing up the peak. At the top of the peak, you will find the Pholani Mata temple.
It is believed that the peak was the abode of witches, Dain roughly translated means Dayan or witch. These witches used to trouble the villagers of the area and an incarnation of the goddess Kali, said to be Pholani Mata, killed them, thus bringing peace to the area. A great number of people who trek up the peak offer prayers and sacrifices there.
In the town itself, there are a number of cafes and food joints one can try out. Gandhi Chowk is a good place for shopping. You will find shawls, woollen caps, souvenirs and so on. The town has a small Tibetan market that you can check out.
All in all, Dalhousie is a pleasant enough place to visit for a one day or a two day trip.